The hunger burns in Marc Diakiese as he still looks to convince the doubters that he deserves to be the BAMMA Lonsdale British Lightweight champion. The 22-year-old from Doncaster is busy training ahead of his first title defence at BAMMA 22 this September where he will take on Rick Selvarajah.
Diakiese has been faced with a barrage of opinion and some criticism for the way he won the belt at BAMMA 18 when he defeated Jack McGann by unanimous decision. He has been accused of playing the defensive game and even of “running scared” because he restricted the much-vaunted boxing of McGann.
“People always complain, Diakiese said. “I fought the way I thought I needed to win. I fought MMA; it is not a Thai boxing match. I am kind if amazed that I hear people say ‘all I did was wrestle’. Top MMA coaches should know that, if something was wrong and he (McGann) couldn’t wrestle, they should have worked on that.
“It is not a Thai boxing match. McGann’s defeat was his own fault, according to Diakiese, as he missed an opportunity to finish him. If he knew I was playing defensively, he should have dropped me in the second round, he should have finished, but obviously he didn’t have the strength to finish so that is their problem. I won the fight it is as simple as that. If there was a rematch, I know I can beat him again.”
“Don’t get me wrong, Jack McGann is a great fighter but you don’t come round thinking you just box everybody. I think he is one dimensional and in MMA you have got to have everything.”
McGann will face Diakiese’s sparring partner Jack Grant at BAMMA 22 and the champion has certainly offered his advice but said it is up to his mate if he wants to take it.
“I am just training with Jack at the moment and working on improving myself. I think Jack has got his own game plan. I said same thing to him, don’t let people come out and say you won’t stand up with him, this is a game, and you have got to do whatever needs to be done to win in MMA.
“You find a way to win. You can’ just go there and say I am going to stand and bang, if I knew he was better than me (at boxing) then I dominate him by taking him down, that is what it costs me to win. I said this to Jack and it is up to him. He wants to knock him out, that is what he keeps talking about and he is really hungry for it.”
Onto the unbeaten Selvarajah and Diakiese is wary, but believe that he will be too much for him.
“I don’t see much of a threat really, I saw him fight Jefferson (George who he beat by split decision) and a couple of other fights. I can’t underestimate him, because it is always different when you are in there with him. He has got a striking game and a ground game, but he weighs too much. I will have too much pressure for him. I personally think Jefferson won their fight. It is done, he won, he has got a title shot with and I am looking forward to it.”
BAMMA 22 takes place at the 3Arena, Dublin on 19 September.Check out our latest podcast episode featuring Desmond Green & Matteo Urella.